Saturday, February 28, 2015

box of blocks...........

I needed a little springtime in the basement.  With temperatures going below 0 again last night it feels like winter will never end.
I was emptying some boxes and one of them was Strips that Sizzle blocks from 2009.  I just did a quick layout and then went back to my posts in 2009 to see some other layouts.  Here is one and another with these blocks.  Here is one more layout.  There are some pink and green blocks too and I put them together in several layouts here.  I also tried a vertical zig zag layout.  I'm not crazy about this on point layout so I'll probably go back to one of the ones I previously tried in 2009 and get the blocks sewn into a top = one empty box.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Third finish for February........

I finally looked for binding for this flannel quilt and chose a dull red plaid flannel.  It is lightweight so it worked fine for a double binding.  I am going to settle for just 3 finishes for February.  I need to clean the basement for another class and I don't feel like rushing to finish another quilt.  This one is 56" x 75.5".

You can see the camera is confused somewhere here.  With the black background backing exposed the quilt has a pinker cast.  The real color is half way between these 2 photos.

Here is a closer look at the binding.  It looks like a stripe but is really a plaid.

Last night I sewed a strata for a couch size TAW.  I was going to do another zig zag but I need to plan the fabric order differently for it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another non-sewing day..........

I only had the last 100 pages in this book to read so I finished it yesterday.  It was every bit as good as his first book "The Kite Runner".  Now I have to find the second book and read it.  I'll check my library today.

Now that I'm down to the last three days of the month I have to get serious about the binding on the flannel quilt and a possible 4th finish for the month.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Not a stitch.........

I came across a whole pile of old quilt magazines (oldest one 1997) so hoping that I could get rid of some I started looking through them and marking a few quilts that I might want to make.  Only 3 magazines are getting tossed out.
A couple days ago I received a package with some new fabrics in it.  I am not fond of a lot of new lines of fabric but this group got my attention and I needed some half yards of them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quilting again..........

I quilted this flannel quilt with a really big meander so that the quilt will be really soft.  I had a 60" wide brushed cotton print that feels like suede to use on the back.  I'll show that tomorrow.  I need to pick binding fabric today and get it sewn on.
I have been sorting and moving some of my Kaffe fabrics.  Someone said there weren't many light fabrics in his line but that is not true.  I have them sorted into 4 groups and will be thinking about how I am going to use them.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Second finish for February...........

The blue batik 16 patch is finally finished.  I made a series of six 16 patch quilts between May and September in 2013.  This is the first one I made and the last one to be quilted.  It ended up 70" x 93" after quilting.

I originally thought I would put a darker blue backing on this quilt but as I looked through my backing fabrics this one just asked to be used.

All of the fabrics that appear pink have some blue in them and were included so the quilt wouldn't be "too blue".  I have a problem with staying on a theme and want to include SO many fabrics.  There are 108 blocks, each with 2 fabrics.  Most combinations were used twice so there are at least 100 different fabrics in the quilt.  
Now for the indoor garden.  Both orange cacti are blooming.

The white with pale pink has one bloom and a few more buds.

The red one has been blooming for about a month and I think this might be the last bloom.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First February finish......

I used 9 different fabrics in the binding for this quilt.  I was able to match up greens and blues to the areas in those colors.  This one ended up 59" x 76.5" so it is a nice size couch quilt.

The inspiration for this quilt was "Crossroads" in "Colorful Quilts" by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke from Blue Underground Studios.  I have to admit though that I didn't follow the cutting directions in the book.  I just sliced through the squares randomly.

I took it off the design wall and them remembered I hadn't shown the backing and I'm going to try to remember that for all of my quilts this year.  I hung it back up, not quite as straight but it does show the backing fabric which I got on sale.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hand stitching.......

I used a lot of different blue and green fabrics for the binding on this quilt.  I had a lot of strips that weren't full width (45") and decided to use them up.  I have 3 sides hand sewn already.

There are four blooms on this stalk so far and one more bud on the top getting ready to bloom.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quilting finally...........

I threaded my longarm right after lunch but it was after 4 p.m by the time I turned the machine on.  Once I get started I'm fine, just need the push to start.  I got this one quilted and trimmed by 6:30.  Then I cut backing and batting for the flannel top made of squares that I just finished but I wanted to do another quilt with the blue thread on the machine first.
I cut the batting and pieced the backing for this one and started quilting it about 8:30 and finished a little after 10.

I did loop-de-loop on this one and got it trimmed too.  Today I need to look for 2 bindings and decide if I'm going to do them all by machine.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A social day........

I finally finished knitting this scarf while watching the last episodes of "the Mentalist" last night.  My daughter sent me the corn and cotton blend yarn for Christmas.  I still need to block it and right now it is about 66" long.  I haven't blocked any knitting for years so I don't remember if it will lose length when the width gets pulled into shape.  

My 2 friends came over to sew yesterday and while not talking and laughing (lots of laughing) I pieced the backing for my blue batik 16 patch quilt and got it loaded on the longarm.  Maybe I'll actually have a finish this month.

A couple nights ago I quilted this table runner with 12wt. variegated thread.  It isn't quite as wonky in shape as it looks here.  The photographer (me) was not holding the camera straight over it.  I have to choose binding now and I'm thinking probably red or orange and dotted since all of the fabrics have dots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Student quilts.........

Here are the students' quilts in progress from the class Monday.  One student had hers off the wall already by the time I grabbed my camera.
They are all making large lap/couch size quilts.
I love the variety of fabric types in a class setting.  Everyone learns something from everyone else's fabric choices.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Zig Zag from strata......dissected.....

I want to share what I learned by making this quilt.  I cut five 3" strips from each of 20 fabrics and sewed 5 stratas for this 80" x 100" quilt.  See this post for a photo of one strata.  I made the decision that I would try 5 steps up and down and started upicking strata slices.  It took me until the third strata to finally register that I was unpicking the same 5 seams over and over.  Duh! I should have just made a strata, NOT sew it into a tube, and slice the 2.5" sections from it and then there would be NO unpicking for most of this quilt.  I could do that 3 times for the 3 parts that weren't the highest point and the lowest point in the design.  I only needed half as many of those highest and lowest points so 2 half stratas could be devoted to each of those parts.  The fifth strata would be sewn into a tube and the remaining pieces of all 5 positions would be unpicked at the proper place.

If you are still reading and I haven't lost you........the first strip on the left has the lowest step of the 5 steps of the design and occurs 5 times across the quilt.  It is comprised of 2 strata slices sewn together to make one strip from the top of the quilt to the that means I need 10 slices from strata for it, and the same for the 5th strip in which is the top of the 5 steps up...10 pieces.  Out of one strata you can cut 16 slices.  If I cut the 20 strips at the fold mark and make 2 half stratas with the right fabric at the top of each I will get 8 of the 10 slices I need.  The remaining 2 will come from the 5th strata which WILL be sewn into a tube and unpicked at the proper places.

Rows 2, 3, and 4 each occur 10 times (with 2 strips sewn together to make each long strip) 20 slices.  Those stratas need to pieced with the correct fabric at the top and will not be sewn into tubes.  The slices will be cut from the flat strata.  I will get 16 of the 20 slices I need from each strata and the remainder will come from the 5th strata which will be sewn into a tube.  Also I would make that 5th strata first and play with the arrangement of the color bands before sewing the rest of them.

So now comes the "what if" part- what if I make it 3 steps up and down instead of 5, will it be more of a zig zag and less of a Bargello look?  What if I make the second strata with the same first 5 pieces and then all different fabrics for the rest of it?  Will I like it better with more colors in it? (Or will that even work?)  What if I add in a few strips twice as wide in the strata for more division between the zig zags?

And finally.....was this helpful or confusing?  Did it give you a headache or an Aha! moment?   I'm expecting a lot of comments and probably won't be answering all of them.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A little progress.......

I got 3 sections sewn together and the fourth one almost done yesterday.  I had to do some clean up in the basement for my class today and that took most of the afternoon.  Tomorrow I should be able to show the whole top sewn together and share some tips about the assembly.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Designing done........

I finished sewing the stratas and now need to get busy sewing.  I need this off the wall before Monday when my next TAW class starts.  After seeing it all up there I think I would have rather had the lavender at the top which would have put half of the blue at the top of the quilt and half at the bottom.  I still love it though.  It ended one strip short of a full match to the left edge but that won't be noticeable on a bed.  This one should finish around 80" x 100".
Here are the 2 Amaryllis blooms together.  The one on the left is in its final stage and starting to droop a little.  I think there might be 5 flowers on the one to the right, 2 bloomed so far.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More zig zag...........

I could see I was going to run out of room on the double design wall so I sewed the first 11 rows together to compress it a little.  This is 2 1/2 stratas out of 5.  I finished unpicking the third strata after I took this photo.  Hopefully I will get the last two sewn today.  It will be too cold to go anywhere.  The temperature is supposed to drop all day and be below zero tonight.
My indoor garden is doing great.  This is the second Amaryllis that i bought on sale in January.

Both of the orange cactus plants have buds and one started blooming yesterday.

Friday, February 13, 2015


I'm going to do a zig zag with this strata.  I know it would be pretty as a Trip Around the World too, but I already have a Kaffe TAW.  This is just one strata so far.  I sewed another one last night but didn't press it yet.

It was the twice monthly sew-in yesterday so I finished sewing the cross seams in the last 2 sections of this flannel quilt top and got it all sewn together.  It ended up 56" x 74".

Here is a closeup of some of the variety of flannel pieces.  I had a little stack of squares left over so I will cut more from the rest of my flannel scraps and make another one.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I started cutting the strips for this quilt after my students left on Tuesday and finished cutting it yesterday.  I'm never too excited about it at this stage but once I start unpicking seams and designing on the wall it comes to life.  I ran out of energy last night so this morning I will press it and sew the last seam to make it into a tube.  There are 3 Martha Negley fabrics in there in addition to Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably and Philip Jacobs fabrics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Second class..........

It took 3 weeks to get a nice weather day to have class 2 of the January TAW class.  This one by JH is a couch quilt that will lay over a gray couch.

This one by SW is a large couch quilt. You can go back to this post to see the starts of the layouts on Jan. 20th.  I love the border fabric on this quilt.

This one by BD is a wallhanging size and we were auditioning for borders.  The fourth student had to go to a dentist appt. and I'm sure she would rather have been with us.

It is so much fun to see the fabrics that the students bring to class and to see quilts start to come to life on the design wall and then it is a treat to see them all sewn together.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The other quilt.........

I worked on the other quilt, the light blocks yesterday.  I pieced some of them with 2 different sets of 4 patches and also cut some setting triangles to see if I liked it on point.

Today is the second half of a TAW class, the one where I teach them all of the different ways of putting an assortment of fabrics together for a successful Trip Around the World.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Still auditioning........

I made more double 4 patch blocks and then decided to see if there was any other fabric i wanted to try in the alternate blocks.  I really want to use this teapot fabric in something.  I notice in the photo that it is a one way design and I have 2 blocks turned the wrong way.  I'll continue making blocks and auditioning fabrics and the answer will come some day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Many stages of play.........

The first thing I did was remove the alternate fabric I tried yesterday. Then I added two double 4 patch blocks to see if they would play well with the 16 patches.  I like them in there.

Then I removed all of the lightest blocks and cut 4 squares of a new alternate fabric.

I put the light blocks with the alternate fabric from yesterday.  I think I am making 2 quilts.

One of the Amaryllis bulbs that I bought on sale in January is blooming.  This is really a pale color, paler than the usual Apple Blossom color.

This is the only cactus that has more than one bloom right now.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Something new........

This is the first set of 12 Kaffe 16 patch blocks that I made.  I am using 3" strips so I'm only getting one block out of 2 strips sewn together but I also get 2 four patches.  I might try some double 4 patch blocks with these.

The next 8 blocks haven't been pressed yet.

I'm also contemplating alternating them with a large print but probably not this print.  My first set of blocks are predominantly blue and green and high contrast between the 2 fabrics.  I will have a lot more low contrast blocks as I continue.

Last night I went to see "The Imitation Game" at our local theater.  I was a very small child at the time of WWII and my parents didn't talk about the war so as I see movies about it I realize how devastating it was.   History class in high school in the 1950s didn't prepare me for the destruction shown in the movies either. This movie is based on a true story; a rather amazing story.